Michelle turns 40

This weekend started with a bang for my friend Michelle’s 40th birthday surprise party.

After school was out, I loaded the kids in the car for what turned out to be a two hour journey to her house in the suburbs. Highland Park is only 30 miles away, but don’t get me started.

Her husband Rick lured her into the back lawn under the pretense of showing her the new fire pit he built. We were suppose to be all waiting there, unfortunately we missed the surprise by a few minutes. We did manage to get there in time to see her standing outside, a bit dazed and confused by it all.


The Calisoff kids were in hog heaven in the basement. Michelle and Rick have three boys of their own and most of them are older than our kids. There are a ton of great toys that hardly get played with anymore. Jack and Ben could hoard whatever they wanted and no one even noticed.

What to the older boys do if they don’t play with toys, you ask? They play with electronics. Lots and lots of electronics. I had no idea. Parents of older kids told me that kids graduate to electronics once they get past toys but I always envisioned it being very anti-social. It is in no way anti-social. Dylan, Michelle and Rick’s oldest, managed to stand between his two friends playing XBOX 360 and chat to them while holding a handheld device and playing a football game all at the same time. On the couch there were for or five other kids, all with electronics out, playing and chatting.

God I’m old. Is this what it’s like to grow up nowadays? I mean, we had some electronics, don’t get me wrong. We had Pong that played on an old black and white TV screen. And my father built a computer from a kit and Lara used to play Zork. But nothing in color. Nothing with pictures! Nothing with game controllers! This is a whole ‘nother world!

And to add insult to injury, we are here celebrating my friend’s 40th.

And I’m older than her.

I asked Michelle when I first arrived if she was having a midlife crisis turning 40. Like, were we going to see her show up with a tattoo or fake boobs soon? She said she wasn’t feeling it at all, but I think it was starting to hit her by the time the cake came out…

Michelle got all choked up when we sang the birthday song to her.

Michelle got all choked up when we sang the birthday song to her.


Afterwards, Adam covered, chased, and blocked the kids in the basement so I could have a few seconds to chat to Michelle. Mostly I used it to stuff my face, but I did manage to stop for a second to get this photo…


Am I going through menopause of something? Because I didn’t feel cold but in the picture I seem majorly underdressed.

Anyway, that’s not why I added this photo!

I added it because I realized out of all the people there besides one, these two ladies and their families were the only people I knew at the party. It made me realize Michelle and I have come a long way. How much her life has changed since I’ve met her. I’m pleased that, even though she moved to the suburbs and we both have very busy, very different lives, when it’s important, we still make time for each other.

Happy Birthday Michelle! Or as your French teacher mind would say, Joyeux Anniversaire!

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